Physiological and biochemical characteristics of two cultivars of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) under different environmental conditions Public Deposited

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  • Two cultivars of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) with contrasting growth habits were studied under field and growth chamber conditions. Fawn, an established cultivar since 1964, and TFM, an experimental line, were observed to grow better during spring and fall months respectively, in the field. Different temperature regimes of 10/4, 16/4, 27/10, and 32/16°C were employed to study the effect of temperatures on the growth and biochemical characteristics of these two cultivars. Fawn was significantly greater than TFM across the three harvests in dry matter production. There were no significant differences between Fawn and TFM in watersoluble carbohydrates (WSC) across the three harvest material. During the seven month period, there were also no significant differences in water-soluble carbohydrates and crude protein between the two cultivars. Stems had a higher concentration of WSC but were lower in crude protein than leaves in both cultivars. Fawn also produced more foliage dry matter (for the first and second harvests) across all temperatures tested. In regrowth, TFM and Fawn grew better at low and high temperatures respectively. This was expected on the basis of field results. Fawn was significantly greater than TFM in WSC and free sugars in both the first and second harvests and in the regrowth but in percent fructosans there were no significant differences between cultivars. TFM was significantly greater than Fawn in percent crude protein in both first and second harvest and regrowth. Temperature affected crude protein and WSC content as temperature increased, WSC, fructosan, and free sugars content decreased. Fructosans were lower in the regrowth material than either the first or second harvest. Percent crude protein in the foliage dry matter increased as temperature increased except in the regrowth where the lowest and highest temperatures showed the highest concentration. Tillering was higher in Fawn, and the most favorable temperature for both cultivars was at 16/4°C. Root dry weight was lower in Fawn, however, the concentration of WSC, fructosans, and free sugars in the roots were higher in Fawn than TFM. These sugar components were lower in the root material than in the foliage or regrowth material. There were no differences in the mean relative growth rate between cultivars, although Fawn was highest at the high temperatures, with TFM being higher at the three lower temperatures. There were no differences in net carbon exchange in the light or gross photosynthesis between these two cultivars, but Fawn was significantly greater in dark respiration at the highest temperature. Dark respiration and gross photosynthesis were higher at the highest temperatures in each cultivar. TFM was significantly higher than Fawn in leaf area at the lower temperatures, but leaf area was lower at the highest temperature for both cultivars. Fawn was significantly higher than TFM in perloline content across temperatures. In both cultivars, the higher temperatures had higher perloline content.
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